A longtime fixture of the New York City session circuit, guitarist Hiram Bullock proved himself equally adept in spheres spanning from rock & roll to jazz to the avant-garde. He also cut a series of solo LPs exploring funk and fusion, but perhaps remains best remembered as a founding member of the original Late Night with David Letterman house band. Born September 11, 1955, in Osaka, Japan, to parents serving in the U.S. military, Bullock grew up in Baltimore, where he studied piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and played his first recital at the age of six. As a teen he also mastered saxophone and bass before embracing guitar at age 16. As a music major at the University of Miami, he studied jazz alongside guitarist Pat Metheny and bassist Jaco Pastorius, and supported himself by gigging at South Beach nightclubs.
Share Your Dreams
After dates in support of singer Phyllis Hyman, the singer brought him with her to New York City, and he quickly emerged as a cause célèbre among the Manhattan jazz cognoscenti, earning attention for his virtuoso technique as well as a flair for showmanship rooted in the larger-than-life traditions of rock, exemplified by his penchant for wandering deep into the crowd during solos. Stints with saxophonist David Sanborn and the Brecker Brothers further elevated Bullock’s profile, and from there he co-founded the fusion unit the 24th Street Band with keyboardist Clifford Carter, bassist Mark Egan, and drummer Steve Jordan. The group recorded three LPs for Columbia, with bassist Will Lee replacing Egan around the time of 1980’s Share Your Dreams, produced by keyboardist Paul Shaffer, then the musical director for NBC’s popular sketch comedy showcase Saturday Night Live. …
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